Courtney Cash, the 23-year old great-niece of late music legend Johnny Cash, was found stabbed to death Wednesday in her Tennessee home. Her body was stuffed into a small cedar chest and left in the living room of her house on Rice Road in Baxter, a town about 100 miles ease of Nashville.
Putnam County Sheriff David Andrews told reporters that Cash was “probably” slain in an argument over drugs.
“We live in a drug-driven society,” Andrews said. “This is a senseless, tragic death of a young lady whose life was probably taken as a direct or indirect result of drugs.”
Putnam County deputies have a suspect in custody, Wayne Gary Masciarella, 27, who has a long history of arrests on drug charges as well as aggravated assault, domestic assault, theft, vandalism and various other offenses.
Masciarella was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in connection with the killing of Courtney Cash. The suspect was also charged with attacking Courtney Cash’s boyfriend, William Austin Johnson, who managed to get himself out of the house despite multiple stab wounds.
Johnson took the couple’s 20-month-old daughter and somehow drove himself to a nearby hospital. He was then transferred to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville where he remained in critical condition Friday.
Courtney Cash lived in the home with Johnson and their daughter. Andrews said the couple was friends with Mascierella and the three of them had gone out on Tuesday evening. They returned to the house where Courtney Cash and Johnson lived sometime between 3 am and 4 am, but when they arrived home, a violent argument took place.
During that argument, Masciarella stabbed the couple repeatedly with a kitchen knife, according to the charges against him. Andrews said that Courtney Cash and her boyfriend put up a struggle and the crime scene was “somewhat bloody.”
Courtney Cash was the granddaughter of Tommy Cash, Johnny Cash’s brother.
“Courtney and her boyfriend are beloved members of my family and like you we have a lot of questions and emotions that we are beginning to sort through today,” Tommy Cash said in a statement. “We are completely heartbroken. It is a time like this that we are grateful for our faith and trusting the loving guidance of God.”
Johnson has not been able to speak to police yet, due to his severe wounds. Wayne Masciarella is being held without bond in connection with the murder of Courtney Cash.
[Image Via CNN]